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Author: Bonnie Kruckenberg

Is it really ……. just that easy?

#WRFProudPartner winner!

Our Proud Partner program was just rolled out new this summer, but Lynn Aspinwall of Sonic Foundry isn’t new to Wind River. Her experience and trust in Wind River made it an easy connection when she became the Exalted Ruler for the Madison Elks Lodge #410. Lynn, thank you for sharing your “Happy Moment” story and taking the initiative of passing along our story to other Elks Clubs around the state.

Did you know the Madison Elks Lodge #410 is located on the beautiful shores of Lake Monona, within walking distance of the Capitol Square, Monona Terrace, several hotels and also includes a private pier for boats. The Lodge features a full service bar, restaurant, and banquet facilities for up to 250 people. And by the way, for your own personal “happy moment” I hear they have one of the best Old Fashioned’s in town that pairs very nicely with the Fish Fry that can rival any supper club! However, you must be a member of the Elks, a guest of an Elk or sponsored by a member to share in the fun. Learn more about joining this private club that has been in Madison since 1898.

We want to thank those who participated in sharing their great stories, “happy moments”, compliments and referrals since the introduction of our #WRFProudPartner program. As the winner for this quarter, Lynn will be selecting something from our choice of great thank you prizes (see below).

We appreciate and look forward to hearing and sharing more #WRFProudPartner “happy moments”, compliments, stories and/or referrals from you. Just pass them along to any staff member at Wind River or to Matt Tomlinson our “Director of Happy Moments” mtomlinson@WindRiverFinancial.com or call him 608-441-7362.

You will automatically be entered in our next quarterly drawing and could win your choice of:
1. Badger tickets
2. Packer Tickets
3. Kalahari 1 night stay + additional gift card
4. Wollersheim Winery special event + gift card
5. Vortex optics
6. Electronics (Apple watch/iPad/GoPro)
7. Kessler’s, AC Zuckerman or Goodman’s Bling

Yes, and it really is…. just that easy!

 

7 Days and Counting! RSVP for September 8th

Come join us at our Innovation and Client Appreciation Event.  Our President and CEO, Mike Carow, and our co-founders Matt Uselman and Mark Courchane are ready to welcome you!   RSVP by going here.

 We promise it won’t be like any other “open house” or “client event” you’ve ever attended.  We’ve been planning this for months, and hope to make it a very unique and interesting evening.  And did we mention FUN!?!

Come learn how to increase your store sales by using engagement – it isn’t all about social media.  Learn some great engagement techniques to use in your own staff meetings as well!

What about getting more customers in the door?  We have a couple of fantastic speakers who are going to share practical advice you can use at your business.

Don’t forget about the food, drinks and giveaways (really nice ones!) We also have some fun things for you to experience, including a drone demonstration by the Middleton Fire Department, workplace wellness ideas, a cash recycler, and a virtual receptionist. And of course, we’ll have tours of our new building and growing prairie!

We’re also prepared to share our own expertise when it comes to credit card processing, so we’ll have plenty of “expert booths” to visit – Chargebacks, PCI, EMV, and Cybersecurity, to name a few.

We’re determined to make this a special event for our clients and partners.  We hope you’ll stop by and share in our Innovation and Client Appreciation Event.

To learn more and RSVP go here.

 

RSVP Requested: Innovation Event – September 8th

Come have some FUN with us!

Be sure to RSVP to our Innovation Event!  We promise it won’t be like any other “open house” or “client event” you’ve ever attended.  We’ve been planning this for months, and hope to make it a very unique and interesting evening.  And did we mention FUN!?!

Come learn how to increase your store sales by using engagement – it isn’t all about social media.  Learn some great engagement techniques to use in your own staff meetings as well!

What about getting more customers in the door?   We have a couple of fantastic speakers who are going to share practical advice you can use at your business.

Don’t forget about the food, drinks and giveaways (really nice ones!) We also have some fun things for you to experience, including a drone demonstration by the Middleton Fire Department, workplace wellness ideas, a cash recycler, and a virtual receptionist.  And of course, we’ll have tours of our new building and growing prairie!

We’re also prepared to share our own expertise when it comes to credit card processing, so we’ll have plenty of “expert booths” to visit – Chargebacks, PCI, EMV, and Cybersecurity, to name a few.

We’re determined to make this a special event for our clients and partners.  We hope you’ll stop by and share in our Innovation and Client Appreciation Event.

RSVP here or by going to www.wrfInnovationExchange.com

 

Are You Afraid of Missing Something Important?

We want to make sure we are able to reach our clients by email to keep you informed regarding important information relative to your account. As the world seems to be spinning faster and faster and in particular the “payment world” is changing rapidly due to regulations, card brand changes and technology it is becoming even more important that we can reach you.

One of the primary ways we communicate with you is by using an email software service called Constant Contact. This allows us to be timely and targeted with information that is intended specifically for you.

No doubt, we have your email address and maybe communicating with you regularly. However, we are finding more and more that firewalls and network security programs are preventing our Constant Contact emails from reaching their intended recipients for various reasons.

If you suspect our Constant Contact emails are not reaching you*; here is a simple way to fix that:

      1. If you suspect your firewall is stopping our emails, please “whitelist” us. If you have an IT department go here, or it you use a personal address such as Yahoo or Gmail, go here. Or if you believe your ISP is blocking your email go here. Our safe sender address is: info@windriverfinancial.com
      2. To complete the process, follow this link to let us know your email is valid so that we can get your address removed from the “Suspended list” maintained by Constant Contact.
      3. If you unsubscribed to Constant Contact previously it is easy to rejoin our list by using our sign up link.

Privacy is important to us; therefore we do not sell, or share client information with outside parties who want to market their products to you.  At any point, you can select the link at the bottom of every email to unsubscribe.

*Our latest Industry Advocate Newsletter was sent via Constant Contact email to all of our clients on May 25, 2016.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Does your business use an email software service such as Constant Contact or MailChimp?

Last Week’s Question

Have you ever attended a PGA event?

67%     YES

33%     NO

The American Family Insurance Championship is underway this week!

The PGA Champions Tour, American Family Insurance and 12-time PGA TOUR winner and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker are thrilled to be having this new event in Wisconsin for 2016. Wind River is also very proud to be a sponsor of the event. To learn more about it go here.

Taking place June 20-26 at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, the inaugural American Family Insurance Championship will feature an 81-player field participating in pro-am events on June 22-23 followed by three days of tournament play on June 24-26 competing for a $2 million purse. Tickets can be purchased by going here.

The event will be broadcast on Golf Channel, the exclusive cable provider of the Champions Tour, reaching in excess of 205 countries and territories and more than 145 million households.

“This will be a fantastic event, not only for players and golf enthusiasts, but for everyone who will benefit from its popularity and the positive economic impact it will bring to our local communities,” said Jack Salzwedel, American Family Insurance chairman and CEO.

Charities benefiting from the American Family Insurance Championship:

American Family Children’s Hospital – located in Madison, Wisconsin, ranked as a Best Children’s Hospital by U.S. News & World Report, providing comprehensive medical and surgical care for the sickest and most seriously injured infants, children and adolescents.

Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation – supports charities, educational initiatives and organizations aimed at building strong families and healthy kids, empowering them to chase and achieve their dreams. To follow Steve’s Foundation and the event on Facebook, go here.

Survey question of the week:

Have you ever attended a PGA event?

 

Transactions under $5, are you experiencing more of them on plastic?

card-users-vs-cash-usersAs a business owner are you finding that you are handling less cash and coin these days? Sienna Kossman’s of CreditCards.com recent article:   Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase? surmises that this is true and particular types of shoppers are driving this shift.

The survey may also highlight a weakening of the purported stigma associated with using a payment card for small-ticket purchases, suggests Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “But now, that’s really gone,” Schulz tells Digital Transactions News. “What we’ve seen in this survey is those folks under 50 have no problem paying with plastic for small purchases.” It also found that the anti-cash trend is particularly strong among the young. A majority of those ages 18-29 now prefer paying for small purchases with credit or debit, and only 36 percent will pay with cash.”

The recent poll* referred to was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for CreditCards.com, (a card comparison site for consumers) compiles some interesting data that you may find insightful in explaining more about your customers and their card and cash habits.

The findings boil down to this: Cash is still king, but its crown is slipping. Two years ago, when we conducted the same survey, cash was at 65 percent” compared to 58% today says Kossman.

* Was conducted by contacting a representative sample of 1,000 adults, 616 of whom said they had a major credit card – American Express, Visa, MasterCard or Discover. The cardholders were asked, “When you pay for something in person that is less than $5, do you usually pay with cash, a credit card or a debit card?” The margin of sampling error for the cardholders is plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.

EMV Acceptance: what we are seeing, reading and hearing.

I want to circle back and share an update with you on what we have been experiencing since the October shift in liability so that you might have an idea of where you fit in the process.

Thirty seven percent of U.S. merchant locations are fully equipped for EMV card acceptance, narrowly missing a projected 40% rate of deployment predicted by management consulting firm Strawhecker Group, according to recently published research.

Wind River definitely experienced the push in countertop terminal purchases late last fall in anticipation of the October 1, 2015 start date of the liability shift. That was quite a challenge as suppliers struggled to keep up with the demand!

Our counter top sales continue to be brisk as those clients who had decided to wait until after the holiday crush are converting. Many clients are also finding that their older terminals will “end of life” and no longer be supported with help desk assistance and software updates as suppliers are focusing their resources on newer secure EMV compliant terminals. Opting to avoid a crisis situation, they are purchasing now.

We agree, now is a great time to purchase a new EMV counter top card ready terminal. Chip cards are becoming pretty prevalent as you may have noticed from your customers. Also, as mentioned in a previous blog, these new terminals will also allow you to easily accept payment from your customers who are using their mobile wallet in their smartphone. We are offering installment purchase payments over three months which even makes it easier on your wallet.

While counter top terminals are being deployed now, EMV migration has been slower for integrated POS systems and equipment suppliers that support those systems are still working through EMV development and certification testing. We are watching the pipeline of certifications almost daily and are in contact with our clients to help them navigate the path forward. We want to be a resource to you and your POS vendor as this process continues to unfold, so don’t hesitate to contact us.

We realize this is a transition for everyone and we want to be supportive.  It is an honor being a resource to you when it comes to this part of your business. Let us relieve your worry, offer you solutions and assist you in serving your customers’ payment needs.

Client Care Team

info@WindRiverFinancial.com or 800-704-7253 option 4.

Wind River Alert – Offices Closed Monday, ACH Delayed

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, our office will be closed Monday, January 18th 2016. We will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, January 19th 2016.

As it is a Federal Holiday, ACH transactions will not be processed, delaying your sales deposits by one day.

To offer uninterrupted technical support, our helpdesk will remain open. They can be reached at 1-800-552-8227.

Thank You!
Wind River Financial

 

 

 

WE ARE MOVING

Thanks to all our loyal customers and valued partners, Wind River has outgrown our current office space.  We are happy to announce that we are moving to a new location nearby later this week.

Our offices will be closed this Friday, December 11 beginning at noon CST.  We will re-open Monday morning at 8:00 am.

If you should need immediate assistance, contact our 24/7 help desk at 800-552-8227.

Please update our contact information to our new street address:
65 Buttonwood Court, Madison, WI  53718.

Where will you be hunting this Thanksgiving season?

A recent article in PYMNTS.com believes shoppers like yourself will still be hunting in the retail stores, but that Black Friday is starting to change.

While it always bears remembering that, overall, 90 percent of all retail traffic is predicted to take place in physical stores, a full 10 percent of it has moved to Web or mobile, and in certain categories, like books and electronics, the shift is even more palpable.

This Thanksgiving Day, retailers are projected to clock $1.6 billion in sales online, and on Black Friday, they are hoping to see a number that will climb to $2.7 billion — up from $2.4 billion in 2014. By Cyber Monday, online sales will top $3.2 billion — at least that’s the opinion of retail industry pundits. Total online sales for that five-day holiday period will top $7.6 billion.

So, Is This The End Of Black Friday As We Know It?

That was MPD CEO Karen Webster’s question for BlueSnap CEO Ralph Dangelmaier as she probed just what was in store for the 2015 holiday shopping season.

In a word, yes, says Dangelmaier, the retail world is moving on and past the sort of frantic madness Black Friday typically tends to carry in its wake.

“I think this is the beginning of a trend to end Black Friday,” he told Webster, “because ultimately the experience is not good most of the time. Getting to stores is a hassle, the deals aren’t always that great or, when you get to a store, the item you want isn’t available. Then, there’s a real security problem; people have gotten hurt or even killed while shopping. I think the big changes we are seeing are a good thing.”

“The new family trend will be to try to find the best online deal during cyber retail weekend,” Dangelmaier noted, “which they can do anytime and online, as opposed to dealing with crowds and discomfort while hunting for them in person.”

Because while the thrill of the hunt is exciting for some, others are just turned off by the experience. Apple’s Head of Retail Angela Ahrendts recently came out against offering Black Friday deals — something Apple has always done — mostly because she does not want to contribute to the masses. The in-store experience, she notes, should instead be both about calm and the ability to get the right help and attention from employees. Apple stores are also closed on Thanksgiving.

If Apple is going to do that and REI is going to be closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving and Walmart is even shifting, this is a shift that we can just see consumers gravitating toward.

With nearly 50 percent of consumers this year saying they have no plans to trek to the mall on Black Friday, it seems that the shift is underway. Consumers seem willing to trade their trips out for digital shopping marathons, and the trade-off seems like an easy one for them to make. What remains to be seen is how prepared merchants are for that shift. We’ll know in just about two weeks.

To read the entire article go here.